CHURDHAR TREK VIA CHOUPAL - SARAHAN, Himachal Pradesh

(A Photo Journey by Karan) I couldn't travel much during 2016 due to professional commitments, and as a result couldn't publish any Photo Journey in entire year. As 2017 starts allow me to share one of the most THRILLING TREK to Churdhar, heavenly abode of almighty Lord Shiva. It was an on the spot plan to celebrate 25 June this year, the day when I got the best gift of my Life, my younger sibling Kartik. This being his 26th birthday, it had to be special. Along with his best mate Abhinav, a plan was chalked out within hours and a trip meant to have 3 guys actually turned out to be include group of 9 friends from different walks of life, many of us meeting for first time in life, accompanying each other to the top.

(A Photo Journey by Karan) I couldn't travel much during 2016 due to professional commitments, and as a result couldn't publish any Photo Journey in entire year. As 2017 starts allow me to share one of the most THRILLING TREK to Churdhar, heavenly abode of almighty Lord Shiva. It was an on the spot plan to celebrate 25 June this year, the day when I got the best gift of my Life, my younger sibling Kartik. This being his 26th birthday, it had to be special. Along with his best mate Abhinav, a plan was chalked out within hours and a trip meant to have 3 guys actually turned out to be include group of 9 friends from different walks of life, many of us meeting for first time in life, accompanying each other to the top.

DAY 1:- 24 JUNE. At a short notice I finish my office work and leave from Ludhiana at 7:00 pm. With 8 confirmed participants, we ought to have two cars. Originally Abhinav’s Vento was the ride. Our Swift couldn’t be managed as its battery was fully discharged. Last option and the best, our entrusted WagonR 2000 model, is our second ride. We picked up all guys, leave Chandigarh at 11:30 pm, celebrate Kartik’s birthday on Himalayan expressway and head towards Solan. We are lucky enough to be served dinner at 1:30 am on 25 June by a roadside dhaba on Solan bypass. After filling our empty stomachs, we head towards Solan and take a right turn to Sirmaur road.


DAY 1:- 24 JUNE. At a short notice I finish my office work and leave from Ludhiana at 7:00 pm. With 8 confirmed participants, we ought to have two cars. Originally Abhinav’s Vento was the ride. Our Swift couldn’t be managed as its battery was fully discharged. Last option and the best, our entrusted WagonR 2000 model, is our second ride. We picked up all guys, leave Chandigarh at 11:30 pm, celebrate Kartik’s birthday on Himalayan expressway and head towards Solan. We are lucky enough to be served dinner at 1:30 am on 25 June by a roadside dhaba on Solan bypass. After filling our empty stomachs, we head towards Solan and take a right turn to Sirmaur road.

The road is just ok but it turns out to be total gravel once we leave National Highway and take a left turn towards Sainj. The only fellow travelers are trucks being encountered after long intervals as it is a road less opted during night time. Now here is the first THRILL. I hear a stone jump and bump beneath my car. We make a tea stopover at Sainj at  5 a.m. where I discover that the stone has hit the fuel tank and the petrol is dripping. With no option in sight we head forward with a hope to find a mechanic after 15 kms as told by locals at Sainj. Somehow we make it to the workshop by 7 a.m. Because the drive from Sainj onwards is totally uphill it is a tense moment with no petrol station till choupal available. The mechanic, a 16 year old, tries to fix it with M-Seal but all in vain as petrol tank cannot not be emptied due to limited sources. We decide to move to Choupal without wasting any time, where luckily we reach by 10 a.m. and a gas welding workshop fixes the fuel tank by  1 p.m.

The road is just ok but it turns out to be total gravel once we leave National Highway and take a left turn towards Sainj. The only fellow travelers are trucks being encountered after long intervals as it is a road less opted during night time. Now here is the first THRILL. I hear a stone jump and bump beneath my car. We make a tea stopover at Sainj at  5 a.m. where I discover that the stone has hit the fuel tank and the petrol is dripping. With no option in sight we head forward with a hope to find a mechanic after 15 kms as told by locals at Sainj. Somehow we make it to the workshop by 7 a.m. Because the drive from Sainj onwards is totally uphill it is a tense moment with no petrol station till choupal available. The mechanic, a 16 year old, tries to fix it with M-Seal but all in vain as petrol tank cannot not be emptied due to limited sources. We decide to move to Choupal without wasting any time, where luckily we reach by 10 a.m. and a gas welding workshop fixes the fuel tank by  1 p.m.

We head towards our destination. Road from Choupal to Nerwa has recently been metaled so it is a pleasant drive amidst apple orchards all around. We have a quick tea stopover and enjoy Pakodas at entry point of Nerwa sub division. From there we leave for Sarahan, the last point from where the 9 km approx trek starts. But here there is another setback. Due to jerks etc. the engine mount gives up just 200 metres before Sarahan, and the car engine now rests upon axle rods, gearbox dislocated. We decide to first complete the trek. At the back of my mind I am quite tense as there is no workshop before Nerwa or Choupal. Kartik and friends keep me motivated that once back from CHURDHAR, this too shall pass comfortably.

We head towards our destination. Road from Choupal to Nerwa has recently been metaled so it is a pleasant drive amidst apple orchards all around. We have a quick tea stopover and enjoy Pakodas at entry point of Nerwa sub division. From there we leave for Sarahan, the last point from where the 9 km approx trek starts. But here there is another setback. Due to jerks etc. the engine mount gives up just 200 metres before Sarahan, and the car engine now rests upon axle rods, gearbox dislocated. We decide to first complete the trek. At the back of my mind I am quite tense as there is no workshop before Nerwa or Choupal. Kartik and friends keep me motivated that once back from CHURDHAR, this too shall pass comfortably.

So after having delicious lunch comprising of LINGAR vegetable at Sarahan we all start trekking by 3 p.m. with a target to make it to the Forest Rest House before it gets dark. Being June month we have ample of time on our side so we move slowly taking power naps in between too. It seems as if it is a small town and some kind of fair is going on as  numerous people are ascending and descending. Here I am taken aback. People are bare feet and even have small kids on their backs. Men, Women, old, young all are so excited and moving with speed, which makes me realize that no doubt we are youth but these locals had unmatched fitness levels. There is something divine that is motivating us to keep moving on those steep mountains where a path has been carved out but people prefer climbing and jumping over stones and roots of Deodar, trees which have been standing in that forest area for decades. The moment we feel exhausted and think that moving on is impossible we see these locals carrying what not and trekking bare feet comfortably.  This is the turning point, and without any words we all keep moving further and upwards.

So after having delicious lunch comprising of LINGAR vegetable at Sarahan we all start trekking by 3 p.m. with a target to make it to the Forest Rest House before it gets dark. Being June month we have ample of time on our side so we move slowly taking power naps in between too. It seems as if it is a small town and some kind of fair is going on as  numerous people are ascending and descending. Here I am taken aback. People are bare feet and even have small kids on their backs. Men, Women, old, young all are so excited and moving with speed, which makes me realize that no doubt we are youth but these locals had unmatched fitness levels. There is something divine that is motivating us to keep moving on those steep mountains where a path has been carved out but people prefer climbing and jumping over stones and roots of Deodar, trees which have been standing in that forest area for decades. The moment we feel exhausted and think that moving on is impossible we see these locals carrying what not and trekking bare feet comfortably.

This is the turning point, and without any words we all keep moving further and upwards. 

There is mid point where tea, pakodas and freshly prepared sweets are served. Two rounds of extra sweet tea with freshly prepared Barfi & Besan iss enough to regenerate cells and encourage us to keep moving further.

There is mid point where tea, pakodas and freshly prepared sweets are served. Two rounds of extra sweet tea with freshly prepared Barfi & Besan iss enough to regenerate cells and encourage us to keep moving further.

We make it to a level point from where we can sight Churdhar mountain range for the first time after trekking for 3 hours. The sun is just setting and we all bask under the sun rays which are not that warm but still relaxing. By this time chilly winds start to blow. Here we realize that only 3-4 of us have warm clothes. Rest of us are in summer wear. And this is when cold runs down my spine and body starts shivering. To add to our woes The Forest Rest House booking has been cancelled due to some VIP visit.

We make it to a level point from where we can sight Churdhar mountain range for the first time after trekking for 3 hours. The sun is just setting and we all bask under the sun rays which arnot that warm but still relaxing. By this time chilly winds start to blow. Here we realize that only 3-4 of us have warm clothes. Rest of us are in summer wear. And this is when cold runs down my spine and body starts shivering. To add to our woes The Forest Rest House booking has been cancelled due to some VIP visit.

Luckily enough a young team of two boys have pitched tents and are offering them at a premium price. As it is quite cold we negotiate a bit and then hire the tents. It is getting dark and the intensity of winds is increasing. Lightning clouds with loud thunders appear from nowhere, and the situation seems grim. With no winter wear and limited blankets we divide into two teams and cuddle up with all available resources and go to sleep without dinner as Langar is 1 km ahead and no one is willing to go. We had a plan for bonfire but it has to be cancelled. There are light showers during night but weather is all clear in morning. That’s how unpredictable Mother Nature is, specifically in The HIMALAYAS. One needs to be prepared with survival skills and have faith in God.  We are all up by 6 a.m. The sun rise was a sight to watch but we are still shivering. We light up a fire outside our camps. That’s when we see that thousands of folks clad in colorful dresses are there to seek blessings of Bhole Nath. Being a Sunday many more are arriving.   We all have morning tea, deposit the blankets which were sourced last evening from Sarai, and start trekking to final destination. After half an hour we reach the top and pay obeisance to the SHIV JI IDOL set high above all. It is a feeling I can’t express in words.

Luckily enough a young team of two boys have pitched tents and are offering them at a premium price. As it is quite cold we negotiate a bit and then hire the tents. It is getting dark and the intensity of winds is increasing. Lightning clouds with loud thunders appear from nowhere, and the situation seems grim. With no winter wear and limited blankets we divide into two teams and cuddle up with all available resources and go to sleep without dinner as Langar is 1 km ahead and no one is willing to go. We had a plan for bonfire but it has to be cancelled. There are light showers during night but weather is all clear in morning. That’s how unpredictable Mother Nature is, specifically in The HIMALAYAS. One needs to be prepared with survival skills and have faith in God.

We are all up by 6 a.m. The sun rise was a sight to watch but we are still shivering. We light up a fire outside our camps. That’s when we see that thousands of folks clad in colorful dresses are there to seek blessings of Bhole Nath. Being a Sunday many more are arriving. 

We all have morning tea, deposit the blankets which were sourced last evening from Sarai, and start trekking to final destination. After half an hour we reach the top and pay obeisance to the SHIV JI IDOL set high above all. It is a feeling I can’t express in words.

We meet an old friend, DSP Yogesh Rolta, who had reserved the rest house room previous evening. It was a difference of 30 minutes. Had we met previous evening, he would have surely offered us space to rest & the THRILL of sleeping in pitched tents would have been missed. It was a blessing in disguise.

We meet an old friend, DSP Yogesh Rolta, who had reserved the rest house room previous evening. It was a difference of 30 minutes. Had we met previous evening, he would have surely offered us space to rest & the THRILL of sleeping in pitched tents would have been missed. It was a blessing in disguise.

After spending some time at the top, from where on a clear sunny day one can have an eagle’s eye view of lower Himalayan ranges covered with dense forests, we decide to start the descent and and visit temple premises. The atmosphere is even more ELECTRIC here as more number of people were seeking blessings from the local deity. We have a target in mind to reach the parking where our good old companion WagonR iss parked with the driver side engine mounts broken and the engine hanging upon support rods. As there is no car workshop at this point we have to make it to NERWA in time so that the car can be repaired and we can reach Chandigarh as 27/06/2016 iss Monday and a working day for most of us.

After spending some time at the top, from where on a clear sunny day one can have an eagle’s eye view of lower Himalayan ranges covered with dense forests, we decide to start the descent and and visit temple premises. The atmosphere is even more ELECTRIC here as more number of people were seeking blessings from the local deity. We have a target in mind to reach the parking where our good old companion WagonR iss parked with the driver side engine mounts broken and the engine hanging upon support rods. As there is no car workshop at this point we have to make it to NERWA in time so that the car can be repaired and we can reach Chandigarh as 27/06/2016 iss Monday and a working day for most of us.

Luckily there is a workshop open & the car is repaired in timely manner. Till the car is being repaired we all are hosted by SOOD, Family of Nerwa, who are all very warm hearted. It is indeed a great pleasure to be at their home & experience the PAHARI HOSPITALITY, which is in our genes. At times I have observed that numerous home stays running throughout length & breadth of Himachal Pradesh are very self-sufficient type.  They don’t over charge but only add to delight of traveling and exploring. After leaving from NERWA via SHIMLA we all reach CHANDIGARH safe and sound at 2 a.m. on 27/12/2016.

Luckily there is a workshop open & the car is repaired in timely manner. Till the car is being repaired we all are hosted by SOOD, Family of Nerwa, who are all very warm hearted. It is indeed a great pleasure to be at their home & experience the PAHARI HOSPITALITY, which is in our genes. At times I have observed that numerous home stays running throughout length & breadth of Himachal Pradesh are very self-sufficient type.  They don’t over charge but only add to delight of traveling and exploring. After leaving from NERWA via SHIMLA we all reach CHANDIGARH safe and sound at 2 a.m. on 27/12/2016.

I am personally obliged to Abhinav Yarky, Kartik & Pankaj who organized and friends who joined this CARAVAN at such a short notice.

I am personally obliged to Abhinav Yarky, Kartik & Pankaj who organized and friends who joined this CARAVAN at such a short notice.

JAI BHOLE!!! MAY DIVINE LORD SHIVA BLESS ALL!!!

JAI BHOLE!!! MAY DIVINE LORD SHIVA BLESS ALL!!!

Comments

dhiru guri said…
This is a very detailed post about churdhar trek. Now one more place have got added to my travel wish list. Lovely pictures.
rupam sarma said…
Beautiful photos. Loved the post.
Karan Gupta said…
@dhiru guri.. Thanks a lot
Karan Gupta said…
@rupam sarma thanks a lot
Shaurav Maknwal said…
Is it possible to trek in monsoon ??
We are planning to trek here on 13th Aug 2017.
Need Urgent reply
Shubham Gaur said…
yes we are going on 12 hope we meet in trek..

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